Clay Buchholz made one mistake against the Houston Astros on Saturday, and it cost him.
The Boston Red Sox starter missed his location on a 2-2 pitch to Colby Rasmus, and the Astros center fielder hit a grand slam to give Houston a four-run lead in the fifth inning. That was more than enough offense for Houston’s pitching staff in an 8-3 win at Minute Maid Park.
Buchholz had made Rasmus look foolish on two breaking balls before serving up a fastball that was deposited into the right-field seats.
Buchholz had pitched pretty well before the fifth frame. He ended the fourth inning with eight consecutive batters retired, including five strikeouts.
The Texas native gave up six hits and five earned runs with one walk and six strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings. Buchholz now is 0-2, and his ERA increased from 5.74 to 6.33 as a result of Saturday’s start. He has allowed five or more earned runs in three of his four outings this season, and he hasn’t yet completed seven innings in a single appearance.
Here are some more notes from Saturday’s game.
— The Red Sox signed Chris Young in the offseason to provide additional outfield depth, primarily as someone who could excel against left-handed pitching. The veteran has struggled against lefties so far, though, with a .222 batting average (2 for 9). He’s hitting .143 overall (3 for 18).
Young was 0 for 3 on Saturday, and Josh Rutledge pinch-hit for him in the eighth inning.
— Another Red Sox outfielder struggling at the plate is Jackie Bradley Jr., whose batting average dropped to .222 after an 0-for-4 performance Saturday. He has collected just three hits in his last 23 at-bats over the last six games.
— David Ortiz went 2 for 4, including an RBI single in the first inning. It was his sixth multi-hit game of the season.
— Dustin Pedroia collected two more hits against the Astros to bring his career average against them to .418 — the highest for any one player against Houston (minimum 100 plate appearances).
— Red Sox reliever Roenis Elias made his major league debut in the seventh inning. He was able to escape that frame without surrendering any runs, but the eighth was full of trouble. Elias gave up four doubles, leading to three earned runs and allowing Houston to put the game out of reach with an 8-3 lead.
— Xander Bogaerts didn’t play Saturday after being hit in the wrist by a pitch Friday night. Boston’s shortstop probably won’t be out for long, though.
— Astros third baseman Luis Valbuena sparked a lot of Houston’s offense with two hits, two walks and one run scored. He also hit an RBI double in the eighth inning.
— Astros shortstop Carlos Correa extended his hitting streak to five games with a first-inning single. Houston second baseman Jose Altuve tallied a game-high three hits, along with an RBI and two runs scored.
Thumbnail photo via Thomas B. Shea/USA TODAY Sports Images